A quantum spin liquid candidate isolated in a two-dimensional CoIIRhIII bimetallic oxalate network

A quantum spin liquid (QSL) is an elusive state of matter characterized by the absence of long-range magnetic order, even at zero temperature, and by the presence of exotic quasiparticle excitations. In spite of their relevance for quantum communication, topological quantum computation and the understanding of strongly correlated systems, like high-temperature superconductors, the unequivocal experimental identification of materials behaving as QSLs remains challenging. Here, we present a novel 2D heterometallic oxalate complex formed by high-spin Co(II) ions alternating with diamagnetic Rh(III) in a honeycomb lattice. This complex meets the key requirements to become a QSL: a spin ½ ground state for Co(II), determined by spin-orbit coupling and crystal field, a magnetically-frustrated triangular lattice due to the presence of antiferromagnetic correlations, strongly suppressed direct exchange interactions and the presence of equivalent interfering superexchange paths between Co centres. A combination of electronic paramagnetic resonance, specific heat and ac magnetic susceptibility measurements in a wide range of frequencies and temperatures shows the presence of strong antiferromagnetic correlations concomitant with no signs of magnetic ordering down to 15 mK. These results show that bimetallic oxalates are appealing QSL candidates as well as versatile systems to chemically fine tune key aspects of a QSL, like magnetic frustration and superexchange path geometries.
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